Is there a word to describe the repeated usage of the same word at the beginning of a phrase or sentence?For example:  "As if he were trying to say something, as if he intended to explain, as if...

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The post above has identified the term you are most likely looking for - anaphora. In the study of literature and writing, anaphora refers to the first words in successive sentences and phrases. 

In rhetoric, an anaphora (Greek: ἀναφορά, "carrying back") is a rhetorical device that consists of repeating a sequence of words at the beginnings of neighboring clauses, thereby lending them emphasis.

Anaphora can be understood as a special form of parallelism also, where a sentence structure or sentence type is repeated. So, parallelism is another (more general) term that applies to the example you've provided. 

Anaphora also falls into the rhetorical category of repitition


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